This past Saturday, April 9, people on bicycles of all shapes and sizes gathered at John Hendry Park for the 9th annual Bike the Blossoms.
The event is organized by volunteers from the Cherry Blossom Festival, teaming up with the group from Velopalooza (a do-it-yourself bike festival that takes place June 10-26), and guides riders throughout some of the best viewing corridors throughout East Vancouver and Mount Pleasant. For some, it has been one of the highlights of the festival, combining the joy of a slow roll on a bicycle with the stunning natural beauty of springtime in Vancouver.
Each year, this family-friendly event has grown in size, with this year’s ride attracting an estimated 450 people pedalling underneath the pink canopies along the city’s myriad bikeways. While the glorious weather may have played a part in the exceptional attendance, some participants recall riding in the pouring rain in past years, just to experience this spectacular springtime tradition.
Beginning at Trout Lake and wrapping up at Queen Elizabeth Park, Bike the Blossoms took participants along a route that offers fantastic photo opportunities along the way. With the blooming of the cherry blossoms a long-anticipated event for people in Metro Vancouver, it would seem that Mother Nature was on the organizers’ sides this year, and the pink puff balls of hundreds of trees were at full bloom just in time for the ride.
At the start of the event, riders had the opportunity to visit a Pop-Up City Hall where staff were on hand to answer any questions and pass out information about work and initiatives happening at the City.
Also in attendance were representatives from Project 529 – the bike registration program to help recover stolen bikes – on hand to register bikes into the system. If you missed the event and would like to log your bike, shields can be purchased at many local bike shops, and the Vancouver Police Department will have booths at various celebration stations during Bike to Work Week May 30 to June 5.
For our family, Bike the Blossoms is a chance to dress up a bit, don our favourite florals, and join other people on bikes for a fun ride throughout our neighbourhood. It also takes us off our usual beaten path, helping to expand our knowledge of the city a bit.
If you missed the event, don’t fret! The Cherry Blossom Festival has the route map available on their website so people can take a self-guided tour before the blossoms fall. There are also other events happening in conjunction with the Festival, including the Blossom Barge – a flotilla of blossoms with live performances.
And if you can’t make it out to this year’s events, be sure to mark your calendar for next year, and join an organized ride that has become a treasured ritual of spring in Vancouver.
To view the full collection of photographs taken by the authors please click here.